Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Stefa (Sarah) Sprecher Kupfer - July 24, 1987

Hiding in Krosno

How did you get food for those few days?

The landlady would bring it from time to time something.

She knew who you were?

Yes, she did.

She knew you were Jews?

Yes. She knew we were the nieces of my aunt. But then something happened. Uh, one day my cousin came in, with a man, with a Polish man. And I didn't know this man, but what happened was, when Momma saw that she couldn't connect with the woman, she didn't know what happened with the children, and the ghetto was going to be erected in the area where we lived, in fact our house was part of the ghetto, she decided to go into hiding in order to be able to get out later maybe go to Krosno to see what happened with the children. And this is what happened. She went into hiding, and after a few days she asked the Polish man to go to Krosno to locate her sister and see if she knows anything about the children. But the man didn't know where the sister lives, and he walked and he walked and he met a young woman about 18 and he stopped her and he asked her if she knew where the Ettinger's lived. And she asked them why and he said I have some news. And this 18 year old was my cousin. So she brought him to the house. Who was the man?

His name?

His name was Drewiega.

How did your mother know that she could trust him?

She met a neighbor, single woman who went into hiding, who decided she did not want to go into the ghetto, she decided to go into hiding by a Polish man. And she told her that her children are not here and she needs a hiding place for a little bit, and when the man came to take this young woman, um he agreed to take Momma for a few days, he said I can't keep you for long, because there is room only for one, but I will keep you for a few days until you connect with your children. If they are alive, or whatever. So she sent him out and he found us, then he went back, and at night, a couple days later. at night they bundled up her face pretending of having a toothache and he brought her on a train and we connected.

And she came to your aunt's house?

She came to my aunt's house, and we were together from that time on. But at that point, we almost didn't have where to stay anymore, because here we are three and my aunt could not keep the apartment any longer and the landlady said you know, "Jews are not allowed to live out in the open." So Momma said, "what are we going to do? You have to help us." And she said, "Well, I can only help you for two weeks. Because you sister paid a month's rent, she only lived here for two weeks, and when I wanted to return her money, she said no, keep it. And I don't want to keep her money, so you live the two weeks that she has paid for."

And your aunt was still at the factory?

My aunt was still at the factory. So we stayed for two weeks, after the two weeks, Momma said "what now, you just have to help us." So she took us. She said, "okay, we'll see what happens." Oh, at that point she had to give up the apartment, totally, she had to rent it out because people knew there was a Jewish apartment vacant and housing was scarce and there was a distant relative that wanted to move into this house. She kept saying to her, I want to rent this apartment and she couldn't say no, because she had no reason. So she took us to a room in the attic. She had a room in the attic she used to rent out, but at that time it was not rented. So she took us to the room and the apartment was rented to the distant family of Mrs. Orlewska.

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